Allentown, Pa. - The Philadelphia Force opened their critical four-game series with a 10-2 lost at the hands of the New England Riptide. Erica Beach pitched a complete game and slammed a three-home run in the first inning to help the Riptide gain game one in front of 553 fans at ECTB Stadium. Both teams are now tied in the NPF standings with identical 23-18 records with just three games remaining for each team.
Things did not start well for the Force and starter Kristina Thorson (13-5). She walked leadoff batter Shanel Scott, who immediately stole second base. Gina Carbonatto put down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Thorson but her throw to first got away allowing Scott to score and put Carbonatto on second. Thorson got Carri Leto-Martin to pop up, but she walked Lyndsey Angus to bring up Beach to the plate. Beach followed by driving a pitch deep over the right field fence to give the Riptide a four spot in the first inning.
In the second inning, the Riptide added to the lead. With two outs, Scott singled up the middle and stole her second base of the night. Carbonatto scored Scott with a single of her own. Leto-Martin was then hit by a pitch. Angus singled to right to score Scott and make the score 6-0 for New England.
The Force got on the scoreboard in the fourth. A single by Jenna Hall and one of two walks on the night for Kellie Wilkerson put the first two batters on base. A groundout by Trena Peel to the right side moved both runners up a base. Clare Burnum drove in the first run with a single, and Megan McAllister plated Wilkerson on a sacrifice fly.
The Riptide added three more in the fifth and one in the sixth to complete the scoring.
The Force had just three hits on the night, with Emily Friedman having the other Force hit. Thorson was replaced in the circle by Jodie Cox, who pitched 4 1/3 innings. Stacy Birk completed the game by pitching a scoreless seventh inning.
Game two of this important series is set for Friday night at 7:05 p.m. The first 300 kids through the gates will received free Mizuno eye black stickers.